Jennifer Taub

Bruce W. Nichols Visiting Professor of Law

Fall 2019

Areeda 509

617-998-1035

Assistant: Jane Reader / 617-495-7719

Biography

Jennifer Taub is a legal scholar and advocate, devoted to making complex business law topics engaging inside and outside of the classroom. Her research and writing focuses on corporate governance, banking and financial market regulation, and white collar crime. Similarly, her advocacy centers on “follow the money” matters –– promoting transparency and opposing corruption. She is a professor at Vermont Law School where she teaches Contracts, Corporations, Securities Regulation, and White Collar Crime.

An authority on the 2008 mortgage meltdown and related financial crisis, Taub is also an emerging expert in white collar crime. She is co-author with the late Kathleen Brickey of Corporate and White Collar Crime: Cases and Materials, 6th edition (Wolters Kluwer 2017). Relatedly, she has appeared on cable news programs including MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN Newsroom to discuss the Special Counsel investigation into links between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign. Taub has a book on white collar crime under contract with Viking (Penguin Random House) with an anticipated fall 2020 publication date.

In the area of banking and financial market regulation, Taub's book Other People's Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business was published in May 2014 by Yale University Press. Recognized as accessible and informative, OPH was honored by the Massachusetts Center for the Book as one of the 2015 finalists in the nonfiction category. Other People’s Houses was favorably mentioned by Nobel Laureate, Robert Shiller in his 2015 edition of Irrational Exuberance. Taub testified as an expert before the United States Senate Banking Committee and a United States House Financial Services Subcommittee. She also co-organized a conference and co-lead a panel discussion at the Financial Stability Law Workshop at the U.S. Treasury Department, hosted by the Office of Financial Research.

In addition to Other People's Houses, Taub has written extensively on the financial crisis. Her publications include "The Sophisticated Investor and the Global Financial Crisis" in the peer-reviewed Corporate Governance Failures (UPenn Press, 2011) and a case study on AIG in Robert A. G. Monks and Nell Minow's fifth edition of Corporate Governance (Wiley, 2011). In response to Roberta Romano, she presented and wrote “Regulating in the Light: Harnessing Political Entrepreneurs' Energy for Post-Crisis Sunlight Hearings” (St. Thomas L. Rev. 2015). Additional works include the chapter "Delay, Dilutions, and Delusions: Implementing the Dodd-Frank Act" in Restoring Shared Prosperity (2013) and "What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Banking," in the Handbook on the Political Economy of the Financial Crisis (Oxford, 2012). She wrote entries on "Shadow Banking" and "Financial Deregulation" for the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Business, Labor and Economic History (Oxford, 2013) and the chapter "Great Expectations for the Office of Financial Research," in Will it Work? How Will We Know? The Future of Financial Reform (2010). In addition, she has published Reforming the Banks for Good in Dissent (2014). Her article, "The Subprime Specter Returns: High Finance and the Growth of High-Risk Consumer Debt," was published in the New Labor Forum (2015). And, she recently wrote a book chapter on "New Hopes and Hazards for Social Investment Crowdfunding" in Law and Policy for a New Economy (Edward Elgar, 2017).

Taub's corporate governance work often focuses on the role of institutional investors, including mutual funds. Her article "Able but Not Willing: The Failure of Mutual Fund Advisers to Advocate for Shareholders' Rights," published in the Journal of Corporation Law (2009) was presented at a conference jointly sponsored by the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and the Oxford Said Business School. Her article "Managers in the Middle: Seeing and Sanctioning Corporate Political Spending after Citizens United" was presented at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU and later published in the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy (2012). Taub's article, "Is Hobby Lobby a Tool for Limiting Corporate Constitutional Rights," was presented at Harvard Law School and later published in a symposium issue of Constitutional Commentary in 2015 on Money, Politics, Corporations, and the Constitution (2015).

Taub has also ventured into the area of legal education and pedagogy. This includes her article "Unpopular Contracts and Why They Matter: Burying Langdell and Enlivening Students," published in the Washington Law Review (2013). She is a co-author with Martha McCluskey and Frank Pasquale of "Law and Economics: Contemporary Approaches," published in Yale Law & Policy Review (2016). With McCluskey and Pasquale, Taub is a co-founder and board member of APPEAL (the Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and the Law), a research network linking economists, legal scholars, and policy makers concerned with inequality and instability who view markets and the government as mutually constituted. She has also developed a model syllabus for course on Financial Stability.

In January 2017, Taub co-founded the Tax March, a nationwide event which drew more than 100,000 Americans on April 15th, 2017, to call on the president to release his tax returns. In 2017, she received the Vermont Law School, Women’s Law Association Phenomenal Woman Award in the faculty category. She also served as chair of the Section on Financial Institutions and Consumer Financial Services for the 2017 AALS annual meeting.

Prior to joining academia, Taub was an associate general counsel with Fidelity Investments. She received her BA degree, cum laude, from Yale University, with distinction in the English major, and her JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School where she was the Recent Developments Editor at the Harvard Women’s Law Journal. She was a visiting professor at the University of Illinois College of Law for a short course in 2015 and a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Management during the 2016 spring semester. She was a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law during the 2019 spring semester.

Professor Taub has written pieces for a variety of platforms including Slate, the CNN opinion page, the New York Times Dealbook, Dame Magazine, The Baseline Scenario, Race to the Bottom, Pareto Commons, The Conglomerate, and Concurring Opinions.

Areas of Interest

Jennifer Taub, Other People's Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business (2014).
Categories:
Banking & Finance
,
Property Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Banking
,
Financial Markets & Institutions
,
Secured Transactions
,
Administrative Law & Agencies
,
Real Estate
Type: Book
Abstract
In the wake of the financial meltdown in 2008, many claimed that it had been inevitable, that no one saw it coming, and that subprime borrowers were to blame. This accessible, thoroughly researched book is Jennifer Taub’s response to such unfounded claims. Drawing on wide-ranging experience as a corporate lawyer, investment firm counsel, and scholar of business law and financial market regulation, Taub chronicles how government officials helped bankers inflate the toxic-mortgage-backed housing bubble, then after the bubble burst ignored the plight of millions of homeowners suddenly facing foreclosure. Focusing new light on the similarities between the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s and the financial crisis in 2008, Taub reveals that in both cases the same reckless banks, operating under different names, received government bailouts, while the same lax regulators overlooked fraud and abuse. Furthermore, in 2013 the situation is essentially unchanged. The author asserts that the 2008 crisis was not just similar to the S&L scandal, it was a severe relapse of the same underlying disease. And despite modest regulatory reforms, the disease remains uncured: top banks remain too big to manage, too big to regulate, and too big to fail.
Jennifer Taub, Money Managers in the Middle: Seeing and Sanctioning Political Spending after Citizens United, 15 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 443 (2012).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Corporate Law & Securities
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
First Amendment
,
Corporate Governance
,
Corporate Law
,
Securities Law & Regulation
,
Shareholders
,
Elections & Voting
,
Government Transparency
,
Congress & Legislation
,
Politics & Political Theory
Type: Article
Jennifer Taub, The Sophisticated Investor and the Global Financial Crisis, in Corporate Governance Failures: The Role of Institutional Investors in the Global Financial Crisis (James P. Hawley, Shyam J. Kamath & Andrew T. Williams eds., 2011).
Categories:
Corporate Law & Securities
,
Banking & Finance
Sub-Categories:
Financial Markets & Institutions
,
Financial Reform
,
Investment Products
,
Shareholders
,
Securities Law & Regulation
,
Corporate Governance
Type: Book
Abstract
The financial instruments and risky practices that caused the global financial crisis of 2008 were enabled by decades of deregulation and anemic government enforcement efforts. The elements that combined to create the crisis were subprime mortgage securities, credit default swaps, highly leveraged hedge funds, and excessive short-term borrowing at investment banks. They flourished without government oversight, transparency, or limits because proponents contended that “private ordering” of financial markets, instead of government intervention, was ideal. The champions of private ordering contended government interference was inappropriate for sophisticated investors (SIs) who had the expertise and incentives to properly assess risk, and to select and monitor complex investment options. They believed that by acting in their own interests, SIs would keep the market safe and ensure the efficient allocation of capital to businesses and individuals who would make the most productive use of the money. Sophisticated investors include, for example, government, corporate, and union pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, endowments, broker-dealers, insurance firms, banks, and sovereign funds. They also include individuals who earn as little as $200,000 per year. While many experts warned about the dangerous consequences of deregulation, Congress and regulators accepted the conventional perspective that sophisticated market participants would police and avoid irrational conduct. When a sophisticated institutional investor makes poor choices, this harms the ultimate investors, the people whom the securities laws were designed to protect. Former president Bill Clinton recently recognized this problem. He explained that the justification for the failure to regulate complex instruments was that: “these things are expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of investors will buy them and they don’t need any extra protection, and any extra transparency. . . And the flaw in that argument was that first of all sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make [them] without transparency . . . And secondly, the most important flaw . . . was even if less than 1 percent of the total investment community is involved in [these investments] so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could affect 100 percent of the investments, and indeed 100 percent of the citizens in countries.” In other words, reliance upon the sophisticated investor ignores reality; the entities the law deems to meet the definition are largely neither sophisticated enough to match the complexity of the instruments or lack of data nor the actual investors who have placed their capital at risk. Looking back on the global financial crisis, it is clear that reliance upon SIs was misguided. There are numerous examples of how SIs were not able to make good choices. And, these incidents were not on the fringes but central to the crisis. As more information emerges concerning the creation and sale of toxic securities, it is clear that reliance upon SIs provided the rationalization for sharp if not illegal practices. Firms like Goldman Sachs invoked the SI concept while defending against securities fraud allegations that it created and sold some sophisticated clients bonds that were designed to fail while allowing others who helped create the bonds to bet against them. In addition, lobbyists and legislators continue to rely upon the sophisticated investor framework to shield certain financial institutions and instruments from government oversight. In this fashion, the SI concept continues to be trumpeted by those who seek carve-outs from reform efforts. Despite the reliance on the SI concept, little attention has been paid to the importance of the SI failure. Accordingly, an examination of the incapacity of sophisticated investors to monitor unregulated investment options and of the role sophisticated investors play in creating systemic risk is a necessary prerequisite to restoring financial safety and economic stability.

Education History

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